Luke Evans is a very brave man. Twenty years after Brandon Lee died while filming 1994's The Crow — leading the film to change studios and launch a script rewrite — The Hobbit star has stepped into the role of Eric Draven for Relativity Media's remake.
So why is Evans brave? Because The Crow a film that has been riddled with rumors of a curse for decades. Not only was Lee famously killed by an accidental gunshot wound while on the set, but the film's TV adaptation, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, saw another casualty — a crew member died following a special effects stunt gone wrong.
The casting, however, is a step in the right direction for Relativity, who has had trouble getting the project off the ground since 2008, when the remake was first announced. Not only did the studio field a legal battle over their rights to the script, but Relativity couldn't lock in a leading man until now. Bradley Cooper was briefly attached to play Draven — who returns from the dead to avenge his murder — before scheduling conflicts led the studio to explore other options like Mark Wahlberg, Tom Hiddleston, and Alexander Skarsgard. Deadline, however, reports Evans had been Relativity's first choice.
Though The Crow — which will be directed by Before the Fall director F. Javier Gutierrez — was originally scheduled to begin shooting this year, the schedule has been shifted to 2014 to accomodate Evans' busy promotional schedule. Let's hope the film's luck will change by then.
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It's hard to know what excites Goths, but if anything has the potential to elicit a smile behind all that cake-powder makeup it's this: that remake of The Crow finally appears to be going forward. However, what might make purist Goths say "Ugh" and shrug, though probably not those poseur Hot Topic Goths, is that Tom Hiddleston, actor and professional genre hopscotcher, is in talks to headline the movie, according to The Wrap.
Not familiar with The Crow or its revered standing in Gothdom? First published as a comic book series in 1989 by James O'Barr, The Crow really broke through with its critically acclaimed movie adaptation by director Alex Proyas in 1994, starring Brandon Lee as the titular avenger. In the movie, Lee played Eric Draven, an eyelinered rock guitarist who's savagely beaten by a gang of thugs on Devil's Day (Oct. 30 for those of you not interested in the occult) in Detroit (the Devil's City! No, not really.) and forced to watch his fiancee get brutally raped by their attackers as the last thing he sees before he's thrown out of a window to his death. And all on the day before he was set to get married! So, yes, he dies. But he later rises from the grave as "The Crow," seeking to avenge himself on the people who murdered him.
The comics and the Proyas film were notable for their intense emotionalism and undercurrents of melancholy and dread. But the film truly rose to Goth Totem status because of the melancholy and dread surrounding its production: namely, the accidental death of Brandon Lee from a self-inflicted gunshot wound — he thought the gun was loaded with blanks — as filming was wrapping up. Lee's death in 1994 is akin to Heath Ledger's death in 2008 before the release of The Dark Knight. It only enhanced The Crow's legend.
It almost seems like the attempts to revive the franchise with a remake of the original film have been cursed. In 2008, rightsholders Relativity Media announced they wanted to give Proyas' Goth-flavored original a Nolan-style do-over, even suggesting that the new take might be "documentary-style" in its grittiness. In 2010, Mark Wahlberg was in talks for the lead, but he quickly dropped out. Shortly thereafter, Bradley Cooper was also attached, but he too left the part in August 2011 as the film languished without a script or director. In January 2012 F. Javier Gutierrez signed a deal with Relativity to direct and speculation resumed once again about who could play The Crow himself. Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling, and James McAvoy were all rumored to be in the mix.
But now it looks like Tom Hiddleston is going to be the one wearing the guyliner. And it makes us wonder: When you have the actor who played Loki in Thor and The Avengers getting Emo bangs and an all-leather wardrobe to play The Crow, does it mean Goth culture has truly became mainstream?
Sure, the gentrification of Gothdom began with the proliferation of mall-staple retailers, Hot Topic. Real Goths would never have set foot inside, ugh, a mall. As my colleague Brian Moylan puts it, "After six months, if they don't follow through on their death-hunting ethos and kill themselves, any Goth has to admit they are poseurs and change." Now that Hiddleston is nearly cast as their greatest comic book icon they must face the fact that they are no longer a niche unto themselves but have been homogenized into mainstream conformity.
Hiddleston's already won over fans of the Comic-Con set, Swedish mystery novels (as Magnus Martinsson on PBS' Wallander), Woody Allen aficionados (as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris), Film Forum cinephiles (The Deep Blue Sea), and, shortly, all of humanity with his lead role as the Great Escapo in The Muppets...Again! Why not add in the Goths? It only means that this group that has prided themselves on their dark moods and darker looks has been irrevocably whitewashed.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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The Avengers star Tom Hiddleston is in negotiations to swoop into the lead role in a planned remake of cult classic The Crow. Bradley Cooper had previously been tipped for the project, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with filmmaker David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook.
The re-imagining of the 1994 thriller stalled as producers considered casting Mark Wahlberg and Channing Tatum to play Eric Draven, who returns from the dead to track down the gang which killed his fiancee.
Reports now suggest Hiddleston is in talks for the job, which famously cost original star Brandon Lee his life after a prop gun accident in March 1993.
According to TheWrap.com, the British actor recently met with executives at Relativity Media, the company behind the remake, and is keen to take on the part.
Spanish filmmaker F. Javier Gutierrez is attached to direct. The movie has yet to secure a release date.
A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
Relativity Media's remake of The Crow, only recently cleared to move forward after the settlement of a legal spat with The Weinstein Company, gathered momentum today with the hiring of both a director and writer. Deadline.com reports that Spanish director F. Javier Gutierrez (Before the Fall) will helm the update of the 1994 gothic horror flick, while Jesse Wigutow, a newcomer with a number of as-yet-unproduced projects to his credit will pen the script.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo had previously been slated to direct with Bradley Cooper attached to star. Cooper dropped out of the project in August of last year; Fresnadillo followed soon thereafter.